Pasadena Mayor, Victor Gordo, issued a statement regarding the incident at San Rafael Elementary School.
By News Desk
To the residents of our community and the parents of the children who attend San Rafael Elementary School:
As Mayor of Pasadena, and as an alumnus of PUSD schools, I represent a very diverse population and feel it’s imperative to address the actions of San Rafael Elementary School Principal Rudy Ramirez.
On Sunday, August 14, a resident called the Pasadena Police Department, believing a possible crime was in progress at the neighborhood elementary school. Our Police Department responded, as they will with every call for help received, and located an individual on the campus who was later identified as the school custodian. In the context of what has happened recently in schools across the country, it is appropriate for our officers to respond to all concerns involving our schools and school children.
While I was not there, I reviewed all videos and reports of the incident. Our Police Department did detain the custodian, subsequently verified his identity, and he was released within six and half minutes. We believe our officers acted professionally, respectfully, and with caution while responding to a call by a resident.
As leaders of our City, school district, and schools, it is our collective responsibility to act professionally and work together to resolve issues. Our comments are a reflection of ourselves, and as leaders we need to set an example for the students and young persons in our community. We represent the people of our community, and there is no place for divisive statements or jumping to conclusions before facts are made clear.
Principal Ramirez made very derogatory racial remarks that were caught on camera and recorded in a report by the school district’s security officer. He made remarks that were not factual and were inflammatory. As a leader, mentor and supervisor, he is held to a higher standard, and should be held accountable for the impact his behavior has caused. A school principal is a leader and educator of educators who ultimately shape the minds and views of our children. Whether during work hours or responding after hours, his demeanor, professionalism and judgement should not deviate.
Race-based denigrating statements are never appropriate. Biased statements directed or intended to denigrate people based on skin color were wrong in times long past, wrong on Sunday, and will always be wrong. There is no place in our society for these types of statements, and certainly not in Pasadena. These denigrating biased statements made by Principal Ramirez are offensive, and on behalf of my constituents, I have a difficult time accepting his apology.
The City of Pasadena will continue to work diligently to build trust and communication between our police, the school district and our community. We will continue our commitment to supporting our school district so they may provide students with the best educational opportunities possible, as education is the key to stomping out ignorance, hate, and systemic racism wherever it exists. The answer to past racism is not more racism. We should always denounce hate and racism whenever and wherever we encounter it.
I hope you appreciated this article. Before you move on, please consider supporting the Colorado Boulevard’s journalism.
Billionaires, hedge fund owners and local imposters have a powerful hold on the information that reaches the public. Colorado Boulevard stands to serve the public interest – not profit motives.
While fairness guides everything we do, we know there is a right and a wrong position in the fight against racism and climate crisis while supporting reproductive rights and social justice. We provide a fresh perspective on local politics – one so often missing from so-called ‘local’ journalism.
You can access Colorado Boulevard’s paywall-free journalism because of our unique reader-supported model. People like you, informed readers, keep us independent, beholden to no outside influence, and accessible to everyone.
Please consider supporting Colorado Boulevard today. Thank you. (Click to Support)